T’is Party Season. Avoid the Food Coma.
Party season is upon us. Weekends seem to go by more quickly, your kids (if you’ve got them) have entered hyperville and don’t seem to be returning home anytime soon, and your pants are perhaps a little tighter than they were in November. There’s no denying it, it’s party time.
If you like parties, it is a fun time of year. Food, alcohol, food, alcohol and some mistletoe always make for a good time, well, not always. Oftentimes you end of up leaving feeling bloated, uncomfortable and potentially, guilty (something you need to avoid at all costs when it comes to food…well, at least I think so).
So what can you do to avoid the bloat? I’ve listed a few simple steps below that may help:
- Make sure to alternate your alcoholic beverages with water. If you’re at a work function, over-imbibing is never a good idea. The water will help to avoid fatigue and also, prevent you from overeating.
- Eat a light snack beforehand. If you head to a seasonal celebration absolutely starving, you’re going to overeat.
- Keep your dinner parties to a minimum. I cannot remember the exact number, but I believe (don’t quote me) researchers have found a sweet spot when it comes to dinner party size. I think that around 8 guests, our unconscious mind takes over, encouraging us to eat more than the others (i.e. our survival mechanism has kicked in).
- Hold a drink in your hand (aim for non-alcoholic, but seriously, don’t deny yourself). Having a drink in your hand makes it considerably more difficult to pick up a goodie, hold a napkin, and eat it gracefully. This technique is only going to work at more fancy / work parties. If you’re with friends, no one is going to care two hoots how graceful you look when you eat an hors d’oeuvre.
- Pay attention to your hunger cues. Before stocking your plate, take stock of what’s going on internally. Are you actually hungry? Could you do with a small meal? This is what’s called mindful eating. The more aware we become of what’s going on internally, the better we can navigate the buffet table.
- Keep up the exercise regime. It will help to keep your metabolism stimulated, your energy levels up, and mood stable. Christmas can be a stressful time, exercise can help to regulate that stress. And better managed stress levels reduce the risk of emotional eating or drinking.
- Mingle. Don’t just stand with your partner. Make new friends, chat, joke, laugh. Social interaction is a natural need for most human beings and will likely take your mind of the sweet table, if only for a few minutes.
- At the big dinner, take small portions to start. Once done, do another internal read to determine whether you actually need another helping.
- Go easy on the meat. Excessive protein intake can be disruptive on our digestive system. Protein takes a considerable amount of effort for our bodies to break down. Hence, the food coma that often ensues after a protein-heavy meal…i.e. turkey dinner. Furthermore, we tend to eat a fairly fat heavy diet at Christmas which can also contribute to the gastric slow-down. Be kind to your intestines and colon this season.
- Watch the caffeine intake. Excessive caffeine can really alter our sleep patterns. Without sleep, the hormones that regulate our hunger signals get thrown off, causing us to eat more of the stuff we don’t want (well, we do want it…but we don’t need it in the quantities we usually consume it in).
This holiday season take control of your mind and belly. Pay attention to how you’re feeling. Eat what you must and leave what you can. By tuning in to your body, you will become a master of your own domain and play the necessary part in improving both your happiness and health.